Deciding the terms of a divorce is not an easy process. It is stressful to apply legal rules and regulations to one’s personal life and the end of a marriage. In addition to the personal stress, there are many potential domestic claims involved in a divorce, including custody, financial support, and property division. When going through the court process, parties may feel as if there is no end in sight.
However, more people are choosing to negotiate these terms through mediation prior to filing anything with the courts. Further, once you file certain claims with the courts in North Carolina, mediation is a statutorily required step. This offers people a less contentious route to attempt to resolve all of their issues. Many people like the idea of mediation because they hear it can reduce their stress as well as the time it takes to resolve the divorce – but is this true?
It can be, but not always
One of the most common benefits that sources cite divorce-related mediation is efficiency. Negotiating the claims related to divorce outside of the court system certainly can take less time than if spouses had to take each individual claim to court.
Litigation procedures do often require more time, but that does not necessarily mean that mediation automatically brings spouses a quicker resolution.
So, how long will divorce mediation take?
The approach that spouses take to resolve their divorce-related claims – whether it is in litigation or mediation – can impact the duration of the process. However, in most cases, how long the process takes depends on several other factors unique to the spouses’ situation. These factors include:
- What issues they must address and negotiate
- Each spouse’s willingness to negotiate
- If spouses discuss options before mediation sessions
- What documentation do parties wish to exchange/ what documentation is required to be exchanged
Usually, spouses who go the mediation route can resolve all claims in six months or less. However, it is not a one size fits all process, and an experienced family law attorney can give you a better idea of the duration. Regardless of the approach spouses take for their divorce, it is critical that they do not rush through the process. It is common for spouses to wish to put this stressful chapter behind them as soon as possible, but taking time to understand the details and negotiate practical and effective solutions is important for the family’s future.